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Bersih is still Bersih!

Photograph: Thomas Fann's Facebook

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As the new government has promised wide-ranging reforms, Bersih 2.0 will continue to monitor the process and to engage with all relevant bodies, says new Bersih chairperson Thomas Fann.

I am truly honoured and humbled to be elected as the new chairperson of Bersih 2.0, succeeding Maria Chin Abdullah and in the footsteps of Ambiga Sreenevasan and Samad Said.

I am grateful for the work done by the previous steering committee members under their leadership, whose foundations we are building upon.

Bersih 2.0 came about after the first Bersih rally in 2007 and has played a pivotal role in awakening the political consciousness of many ordinary Malaysians to the need for free and fair elections and strong independent public institutions.

The series of five mega rallies organised by Bersih has united Malaysians from all walks of life and brought pressure to bear on the government of the day. The same indomitable spirit of Malaysians at these rallies eventually led to the ouster of a 61-year-old regime and ushered in a new Malaysia on 9 May 2018.

But Bersih 2.0 is more than just about mega rallies. It has always been about justice, and we have advocated for electoral and institutional reforms. We did this through statements, campaigns, workshops and public forums. Much of these advocacy material has found its way into public political discourse and into the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.

We are cognisant of the fact that for a democracy to be vibrant and mature, there must be a level playing field for all political actors. Opposition parties must be allowed to compete and to be effective checks and balances on the ruling government.

READ MORE:  Reflecting on Bersih 2 rally, 10 years later

It is also our conviction that the role of civil society in a democracy is indispensable. As such, Bersih 2.0 will seek to play our role to nurture a vibrant civil society that will hold governments and public servants accountable and to contribute positively to nation-building.

The new Bersih 2.0 steering committee and I will do our level best as a watchdog organisation to be a voice of conscience for the new Malaysia by always speaking up without fear or favour and to aim for international best practices in procedural democracy.

With the historic change in government at the 2018 general election, Bersih 2.0 remains relevant, if not more so. As the new government has promised wide-ranging reforms, Bersih 2.0 will continue to monitor the process and to engage with all relevant bodies and authorities to ensure that our country’s democratic institutions are truly independent and empowered. Bersih is still Bersih!

Satukan tenaga, Malaysia baru!

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